Gert is a curator in a northern museum. Through a series of flashbacks, she describes her eccentric and often surreal childhood - a hopelessly vain mother, a father constantly away at his African crocodile farm, and a brother who becomes a monk.
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Gert works in the Egyptian room at a museum. At 35 her life is in stasis. Her mother, whom she hasn't seen for years, writes her a letter asking for help and forgiveness. At work, she sees a young woman ballroom dancing alone in the empty cafeteria and it's love at first sight. How can she seduce this pale-faced beauty? She starts remembering her strange childhood, how her father left for a crocodile farm in Africa and her mother started drinking while Gert and her twin brother Frank floated about in their own psychic spheres. Her articulation of this lonely time releases her from alienation and the novel pushes forward to its moving resolution.
Darling's prose would make any poet jealous. The idiosyncrasies of Gert's world and imagination are drawn so precisely that we can almost smell the house in which she grew up, almost feel physically transported to the particular corners of her outsider perspective. It is a novel about mothers and lovers and the struggle to grow up, a novel of spirit and humour wrought out of the mini-tragedies of adolescence and family psycho-drama which provoke Gert's mid-thirties crisis and its exorcism. Julia Darling is a real writer. This is a debut that promises a great career. --Hannah GriffithsAbout the Author:
This is Julia Darling's first novel which is being reissued by Penguin at the same time as the paperback publication of The Taxi Driver's Daughter which was published to great acclaim and was on the long list for the ManBooker Prize 2003. Julia Darling is also a poet and playwright who has written plays for the stage and radio. She was awarded the Northern Rock Writers' Prize in 2003. She lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0141015160